The animals at the Wake County SPCA can rest easier, play more and chow down on tasty treats, thanks to an effort by students at Endeavor Charter School.
As part of the school’s “Paws for a Cause” program, the students last week made dog beds, blankets, rope toys and more for the SPCA.
Endeavor’s mascot is a lion, and students earn paw points for good behavior. The grade that collects the most points each quarter gets to pick a charity to help. This quarter’s winners, the fourth grade, chose the animal shelter – a decision that resonated with the students in other grades as well.
“I think it’s great to help the animals,” said Maddie David, 11, as she worked with fellow sixth-grader Kate Meares, 12, to make a fleece blanket.
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As part of their project, the students also got a lesson in kindness from a small black-and-tan dachshund named Ricky Bobby.
Jena Ball, author of the CritterKin book series, introduced students at the school to the story of Ricky Bobby, who was rescued from a puppy mill with his back legs paralyzed. Once he was adopted, his new family made him a wheeled cart so that he could get around.
Ricky Bobby is a character in Ball’s series, and she uses his rescue story and other stories about his life, including some told from his point of view, to illustrate lessons about kindness.
As part of the Ball’s presentation, she talked with the students about how hearing a story told from Ricky Bobby’s point of view helps them understand what animals experience. They then wrote down stories told from the point of view of dogs waiting at the shelter to help encourage people to adopt the animals.
“It's fun, but it's also a wonderful way to teach empathy,” Ball said.
Ryan Hardy, 9, a fourth-grader at Endeavor, said he enjoyed the story of Ricky Bobby and thinking about the needs of animals.
“They’re like humans, so you should treat them the same,” he said.